Saturday, June 21, 2008

AIESEC, between the lines.

AIESEC. A lot of you already know about the organization. I would make a short introduction for those of you who don't know, but I don't thing it's the proper place. Instead of that you can visit and find out a lot about AIESEC. Everything you need to know about it. And don't forget to read the amazing stories of AIESECers! Experiences that you might envy, believe me. Anyway, the reason I didn't make the short introduction here is because here I want to say a few things about AIESEC "between the lines". So here I go :-) ...

AIESEC is a village. A small village habitated by global villagers. Actually it is more of a virtual village, with smallest sub groups (or sub-villages) living in it all together, physically. The habitats of this village are about 28.000 in numbers, all aged from 18 to 28-29 approximately. Sounds a lot for a village, but if you thing that they are actually allocated around the world it's not that much.

In this village called AIESEC, things are pretty much that any other village. You live with those you look more alike, but now and then you meet with other subgroups of the village and connect with them. Most of the times for functional reasons. A village needs all its habitats to contribute to its functions. There is always someone who makes the bread, someone who milks the cows and then gives the milk, someone who feeds chicken and producing eggs or the chicken as such etc. (Something like that, but a bit more complicated :-P ). Some (only a few) subgroups are producing everything by themselves and don't really care about the rest of the village. Anyway, there are times, when the subgroups meet just for fun or to celebrate important events.
What is pretty much admirable, is that even though the subgroups of this village are naturally different (in many many different perspectives), they somehow work perfectly together most of the times. Other times better or worse, but in most of the cases the match perfectly, despite all the differences.

Some of the villagers are more important than others. They are the leading villagers, who actually coordinate pretty much everything that happens in this big virtual village to make it function properly and be better than other villages that exist in this world (Yes in our world villages tend to be a bit competitive to each other...). All the other villagers admire them and respect them, and most of them wish to be in their position some day, something possible, as the leading villagers change once per year. History has shown that some of the leading villagers screw up sometimes (or at least the receive the blame), while others make huge turn-arounds and become role-model villagers.

Apart from that, many villagers move from subgroups to subgroups to meet the differences of the other villagers, so in the end what occurs is a huge mixup of villagers representing different subgroups, but many times not the ones they originally belong to. Some of them even represent a different group every year for 2 or 3 or 4 etc. years! So as you can see, in the end the village is really diverse in its total. The purpose is to be manage to become really good and skillful leading villagers and ensure the future health, stability and growth of the village, so after that they can move to a bigger city and do it there too :-)

Anyway, this village is not all about cool things. It also has bad things. All the bad things every village - physical or virtual - has. For example, if you are good, you will be recognized by the village for it. But if you are not good, then you will be judged for it ten times more. As the leading villagers change once a year, you can become suddenly someone very important out of nothing, as well as noone out of something. Some people still believe and respect the important people that were leading villagers in the past, but it doesn't count for all.
Moreover - a completely villagish (I don't think this word exists) phenomenon - people tend to like or dislike other people. Usually people who like you will be more supportive to you than to others they dislike, but the times you are in the opposite field can be quite as many. So you can never be sure. In my opinion, there are no villages that are completely meritocratic. In villages, the relationship you have with people and the reputation that lies beyond your name counts. The same applies for the AIESEC village. I am sure there are also many more cons that I miss right now, but the point is not to judge the village, but to give a "between the lines" both-sides image of it.

I am part of this village for 3 years now, and having in mind all the above, I was wondering what keeps me in and so committed to it. What do I get out of that village? Not the "professed" benefits, but the ones "between the lines". Well if you think of it, Real life is exactly like life in the village. Or, the life in the village is like real life in a smaller scale. And this is exactly what amazes me. That once you have finished with whatever you've done to the village, you move to the city (which represents the real life for those who still haven't got it) and you are ready to face all those situations. The good side and the bad side. The achievement and recognition side, and the srewed up one. And this time, you are much more mature while dealing with them. And this is one of my major discoveries throughout my life in the specific village...

You may have heard about Activating Leadership, you may have heard about Exchange Experiences, about Global Learning Environments, about unique life changing experiences -every kind of them-, cultural ones, student ones, professional ones, business ones, leadership, etc. (it can go on forever).
I agree.
In some places of the world it's exactly like that. In some other places it is not. It may be similar to that though, or totally different. This is because some leading villagers are not so good, but as years pass by most of the sub-villages align to the overall village (I am thinking right now that maybe I chose the wrong metaphor, it's becoming confusing...).
Anyway, what I wanted to say is, regardless if the above are true or not, what happens EVERYWHERE is that AIESEC is a very very very very very big and important preparation for real life. For today's life, and the life of the future...

If you ever get into the dilemma of joining or not, don't even think of it. Join.

P.S: For those who got really confused, please read the following :-P
AIESEC Village = AIESEC Globally (in its whole)
Sub-Villages = Countries
Leading Villagers = AIESECers in Leadership Positions, different level every time, those who know probably understand
Other Villagers = the rest (hahahahha)

1 Comment:

  1. Sokrates said...
    It's exactly what you describe in your post, transformed to an online game. Check it out.

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